I was never one of those Winston Dookeran groupies in the Congress of the People, but last night the man earned my respect. Listening to him, weary and dragging, facing the sunset of life and career he chose to do the right and honourable thing as he saw it without regard to any personal loss, and that is the measure of a man. Well done Winston Dookeran.
Prakash Ramadhar was a man many of us considered spineless, yet he too was challenged by this particular provision, caught between the populous politics of building his party and the information he and other high level operatives within the PPG must have and took the steps he believed to be the appropriate one to ameliorate them; and while I do not agree with the runoff, I understand the almost Sophie's Choice with which he was faced.
Carolyn Seepersad Bachan continues to cling to a party chairmanship that she should have resigned before seeking higher office but has instead held on to it as some sort of consolation prize and does not see how desperate for power and position that makes her appear. For that reason her 'no' vote against the runoff could not be considered as being on principle because there's a funny thing about ethics, character and integrity, you cannot have them halfway. You either stand on principle or you don't, and until she can understand that she will be lost to the void of political 'also rans.'
Lincoln Douglas is a loyalist and a supporter and comes across as someone who bases his decisions on his self interest first. Not necessarily a bad thing, don't get me wrong, at least with Lincoln there is no intrigue, you know what you're getting when you deal with him.
Roger Samuel's abstention was so on point, as a writer I would have been hard pressed to more perfectly describe his political value and career. Neither nor, present, but of little consequence to the outcome.
Unfair to most of the above, unlike many of the low hitters that make up the political flora on both sides their positions have been thrust into scrutiny simply because the Congress of the People insisted on challenging the runoff and the way that it was handled, and again, from simply a citizen's point of view, I am thankful that they did.
Unlike the cheap politicking of the opposition and their small orbiting satellites, the COP created a blip in the record for the voters to whom tribe and position matter less than what was right and decent.
The pomposity of Amery Browne, the rabid attack style of Keith Rowley, the tired intellectual knuckle dragging of Colm Imbert, the vapid nothingness of Terrence Deyalsingh personifies a system that more requires team members than qualified players.
The public may be getting the representation they deserve, but surely we all deserve better.
For their part the main party in the government, the United National Congress, this was all about triage. This was managing the fall out of the ILP and an answer to Jack Warner and his Trojan horses and Manchurian Candidates liberally sprinkled throughout the PPG who are quietly awaiting being 'activated' to impact election results. This measure in the immediate term may be an effective bandage against the threat of a split vote that makes him (Warner) relevant enough to demand a seat at the government's table once more to ward off mutually and assured destruction, but it also has a greater impact, that on the wider society, as it further neuters the already marginalised, the smaller groups, races, religions and 'separating' conditions in society who already have no voice, and it is this lot who are paying the most attention and whose support for dissent against the bill is being heard the loudest to the surprise of many, simply because most are accustomed to their being present but silent.
This is what the attorney general may not be getting, or he may be getting it and ignoring it for the perceived short term 'greater good,' but what of the government's stock with this bunch? With whom do these people now register their dissatisfaction the next time around?
Where do they put their vote so that their issues remain on the national agenda?
This is why, if not consensus, then at least understanding should have been sought. This is a bunch that thrives on the greater good, who could have been convinced to give up their voices temporarily in exchange for a stone promise of debate and discussion on much needed proportional representation.
To cast their relevance to the four winds seems to me a serious gamble to take in the short term, and one I hope the government does not come to regret.
Phillip Edward Alexander
Social and Political Activist